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Behind The Scenes

Zelah Clarke as Jane and Timothy Dalton as Rochester

The History of Jane Eyre On-Screen


Discover more about previous BBC adaptations of Jane Eyre.


1983: Zelah Clarke as Jane, Timothy Dalton as Rochester

Until the 2006 version, this was the BBC's latest adaptation of the novel. Timothy Dalton went on to play James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence To Kill (1989), but Zelah Clarke's subsequent TV and film credits remain limited to a few guest roles.

Young Jane was played by Sian Pattenden*, now better known as a journalist, writer and pop music expert.

1973: Sorcha Cusack as Jane, Michael Jayston as Rochester

Michael Jayston as Rochester and Sorcha Cusack as JaneTen years before the Timothy Dalton version, Michael Jayston played the mysterious Rochester. His previous credits included The Power Game, The Edwardians and UFO. His later credits include Doctor Who, Only Fools and Horses and EastEnders.

Sorcha Cusack is part of the Cusack acting dynasty - parents Cyril and Maureen and her four sisters have all acted. In the mid-90s, Sorcha went on to play Casualty's Kate Wilson, and has also guested in numerous crime dramas, including Judge John Deed and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

1963: Ann Bell as Jane and Richard Leech as Rochester

Ann Bell as Jane and Richard Leech as RochesterThe BBC's 1960s adaptation saw Ann Bell play Jane. She later starred in popular 1980s drama Tenko, the 2000s version of The Forsyte Saga, plus episodes of Casualty, Holby City and The Bill.

Richard Leech, who played Rochester, continued acting until the 1980s, notching up credits in The Avengers, Smiley's People and The Barchester Chronicles.

Other notable adaptations include ITV's 1997 version with Samantha Morton as Jane and Ciárán Hinds as Rochester, and the 1996 film, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane and William Hurt as Rochester.

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